Issue 2, January 12, 2007
On January 9, the US House of Representatives passed legislation calling for the screening and inspection of all domestic and export air freight moving in the belly hold compartments of passenger aircraft. The legislation mandated a three-year phase in period for100% screenings of all cargo on passenger aircraft and 100% inspection of all US-bound sea containers before loading within five years. What was left unclear is how the cargo would be screened, and who would be responsible for conducting the screenings and inspections, and whom would pay for it.
Passage of the House bill is the first step in what is likely to be a long and involved process. The Senate has yet to debate its version of cargo security legislation, and it is possible that the Senate version may be dramatically different than the House version. There are also questions as to whether the White House will support any legislation mandating physical inspection of belly cargo. The Department of Homeland Security has consistently opposed the physical screening and inspection of air cargo.
Because the issues are still being debated, there is little in the way of firm information we can share with you at this time. It may be months before any legislation reaches President Bush’s desk to be signed into law, and the laws then implemented and enforced by the Transportation Security Administration. Once the legislation becomes law, we will have a much clearer idea of its impact on all stakeholders, including you.
DHL Global Forwarding is firmly committed to the safety and security of the global supply chain, and we support reasonable and effective measures to strengthen the security of cargo on passenger aircraft. Since 9/11, industry stakeholders, such as DHL Global Forwarding, have made significant investments to secure the air supply chain including the most recent security enhancements as mandated by the TSA on November 27, 2006.
We recognize that we must do all that we can to mitigate threats to the air cargo sector while allowing for a continued free flow of commerce that is so vital to our nation’s economic security and the prosperity of global commerce.
It is our hope Congress will analyze the many options and potential solutions available to it, and craft reasonable and comprehensive legislation that guarantees the protection of passengers while preserving the unique features of the air cargo industry and its benefits to millions of businesses and consumers worldwide.
We will keep you apprised of developments as they unfold, and we will do our best to provide you with insight into how events in Washington will affect you, your business and our industry.